New Delhi, Apr 21: The Congress and six Opposition parties on Friday moved a removal motion or impeachment motion against the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra on “five listed grounds of misbehaviour”. Hours after the CJI removal motion was moved, Trinamool Congress and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) refrained from signing asking for proof. The leaders of the two parties aren’t the only ones.

The impeachment motion against the CJI has led to a division in the Congres party. Former Law Minister Ashwani Kumar called the move “ill-advised” and said it would be “counter-productive” He argued that the “remedy cannot be worse than the malaise” and that the move could scar Congress. “Impeachment has to be matter of last resort; it should not destroy intra-institutional relationship between the Judiciary and Parliament,” he added.

Not just Kumar, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram didn’t sign the impeachment motion. According to the reports, lawyer-politician Abhishek Singhvi had warned the Congress against the impeachment motion. He, as per the reports, didn’t want to sign it but later relented.

For now, there are a total of 71 MPs who have signed the impeachment motion against the CJI. The MPs who signed the motion belong to Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Communist Party of India (CPI), the Samajwadi Party (SP), and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

“We have moved an impeachment motion seeking the removal of CJI Dipak Misra under five listed grounds of misbehaviour. We have sought his removal under Article 217 read with Article 124(4) of the Constitution of India,” Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said after handing over the notice to Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu. This came a day after the Supreme Court dismissed petitions for an independent probe into the alleged mysterious death of CBI judge BH Loya.

The BJP on Friday hit out at the Congress and other opposition parties for submitting an impeachment notice for removal of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, saying it aims to cover up their repeated failures in judicial battles. “Today (Friday) is a sad day because the government is working in every possible way but the opposition is continuously trying to degrade and denigrade the institutions,” BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi told reporters.

The Supre Court also dubbed the impeachment motion as “unfortunate”. “It is unfortunate. We are all disturbed over what is happening,” Justice A.K. Sikri, who was on the Division Bench, said.

In January, in an unprecedented move, four senior judges of the Supreme Court — Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph — held a press conference and alleged that things in the apex court administration “are not in order”.

“Administration of the Supreme Court is not in order. Many things less than desirable have happened in the last few months. We owe a responsibility to the institution and the nation. We tried to collectively persuade the Chief Justice that certain things are not in order and remedial measures are necessary. Unfortunately, our efforts have failed in convincing the Chief Justice of India to take steps to protect this institution,” Justice Chelameswar had said.